Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.


  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: Short Courses
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were two of the most turbulent and momentous in the history of Scotland. The impact of the religious disruption of the Reformation, conflict with the 'auld enemy', civil wars and relations with Ireland is still evident. Increasingly close contacts between Scotland and England, notably through the Union of the Crowns and the later Union of the Parliaments, created modern Britain and made the Scots 'British'. The major focus will be on the political, religious and military processes which transformed Scotland from an independent European power in 1500 to a part of a 'Greater Britain' in 1707 - a process which was never inevitable.


Block 1&2: Wednesday, 10.00-12.00.

Requirements of Entry

(undergraduates welcome).

Excluded Courses





Students will be required to complete: i) an essay of 1500 words (50%), ii) a second essay of 1500 words (50%).

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to the major themes in the political, religious, military and international development of Scotland from the reign of James IV to the Jacobite War of 1715. It aims to provide a background to the Late Medieval period, and will assess the 'kingship' and rule of James IV to Mary Stewart, war and diplomacy with France and England, the impact of royal minorities, and the religious and political upheaval of the Reformation crisis. The focus is on the political and religious disruption of Scotland in the Reformation century. The focus of the seventeenth century begins with an examination of the union of 1603 and its origins, the Imperial Kingship of James VI and Charles I, the Covenanting movement, the Highland Problem, the British Civil Wars and relations with Ireland. In the second term the aim is to examine the early attempts to create a British state and the opposition and problems such moves met. Finally the course aims to focus on the period 1688-1715 and examine the 'Glorious Revolution', the Jacobite threat, the origins of the Treaty of Union and its impact on Scotland. The course aims to provide a thorough preparation and foundation of knowledge and skills to enable students to proceed with confidence to further study at a more advanced level.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

This course will assess your ability to achieve the Intended Learning Outcomes stated below. By the end of the course, you will be expected to be able to:
- Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the course of Scottish History from 1500 to 1715, particularly political, religious, military and international developments.
- Demonstrate a knowledge of the latest thinking on the subject and themes of the course, including areas of controversy and debate.
- Reach conclusions based on clear and logical reasoning, distinguishing between information and argument.
- Be able to place contemporary sources in their historical context, and identify common characteristics shared by a range of different types of primary source material.
- Develop through group discussion, skills and confidence in debating historical issues.
- Develop skills which can be applied to other areas - clear and perceptive oral and written analysis; accurate and reasoned essay writing; critical judgement.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.